Prepping for Pan American Games Salvador Onate Races to Win $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic

Lexington, Ky. – July 25, 2019 – As the sun set on the Rolex Stadium, spectators were treated to an entertaining evening of competition with 29 entries battling it out in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic. The 1.50m course designed by Brazil’s Marina Azevedo proved to be tricky for many horse-and-rider combinations, consisting of a total of 15 obstacles in the first round. A myriad of jumps came down around the course and with a time-allowed of 84 seconds, only nine pairs moved onto the jump-off.

Salvador Onate and Big Red

Mexico’s Patricio Pasquel on Babel, was the first to return to the ring in the jump-off but with a rail down, he left the door open for other competitors to seize the win. However, it took five jump-off attempts before an athlete secured a double-clear finish — Shane Sweetnam, Irishman and local fan favorite, left all rails in their cups to finish on a time of 44.372 seconds aboard Gerko. Owned by Seabrook LLC and his student, Lacey Gilbertson, the 8-year-old KWPN gelding has only recently moved up to compete in grand prix competitions and Sweetnam has high hopes for his development.

Shane Sweetnam and Gerko
Shane Sweetnam and Gerko

While Sweetnam was hoping to earn the win in his first competition since his performance at the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup in CHIO Aachen, his hopes were dashed when Mexico’s Salvador Onate confidently took to the ring. Shaving two seconds off Sweetnam’s time, Onate raced Big Red, his 14-year-old Westphalian gelding, to a clean performance in 42.145 seconds.

Salvador Onate and Big Red
Salvador Onate and Big Red

The enthusiastic chestnut gelding has competed under a collection of world-class riders, including Richard Spooner (USA), Steve Guerdat (SUI), and Nikolaj Hein Ruus (DEN), prior to Onate picking up the ride two years ago. They have accumulated an impressive resume together including a team gold medal at the 2018 Central American & Caribbean Games and in January, the pair took top honors in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Guadalajara CSI4*-W in Mexico, marking their first international grand prix win.

Ornate was thrilled with Big Red’s consistency and power during the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, which was their final round in preparation for the 2019 Pan American Games, which takes place in Lima, Peru with show jumping competition on Aug. 6-9.

Big Red
Big Red

In addition to having one of her horses ride away with a second-place finish in the class with Sweetnam, Gilbertson finished the evening in third place on Bijzonder. Her 13-year-old KWPN gelding gave a speedy performance in the jump-off with the quickest time of 40.611 seconds, but unfortunately pulled the last rail to finish on four faults.

Lacey Gilbertson and Bijzonder
Lacey Gilbertson and Bijzonder

The athletes in Thursday’s class were especially competitive as the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic was the third class in the Hagyard Challenge Series, which promises the top riders a sizeable bonus at the end of the summer. The series consists of seven grand prix classes and, following the final event, a cash prize of $60,000 will be awarded to the rider who accumulates the most points throughout the series. With series leading riders spread out across the country, the race for the bonus is still up for grabs.

Show jumping competition will resume in the Rolex Stadium at 8 a.m. with the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper and the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix will take place Saturday, July 27, during Hats Off Day.

For more information on the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, please visit


$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Big Red / Salvador Onate / MEX / 0 / 80.087 / 0 / 42.145
2. Gerko / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / 0 / 80.574 / 0 / 44.372
3. Bijzonder / Lacey Gilbertson / USA / 0 / 75.156 / 4 / 40.611
4. Shiver / Liza Finsness / USA / 0 / 78.190 / 4 / 41.814
5. Orso Del Terriccio / Diego Perez Bilbao / ESP / 0 / 82.041 / 4 / 43.134
6. Javas Miss Jordan / Nicky Galligan / IRL / 0 / 77.777 / 4 / 43.408
7. Kayack / Juan Manuel Gallego Martini / COL / 0 / 80.929 / 4 / 46.584
8. Babel / Patricio Pasquel / MEX / 0 / 80.758 / 4 / 46.725
9. Helios / Diego Perez Bilbao / ESP / 0 / 79.386 / 4 / EL
10. Essince W / David Beisel / USA / 4 / 75.917
11. La Belle SCF / David O’Brien / USA / 4 / 76.786
12. MTM Flutterby / Brian Moggre / USA / 4 / 77.702


Salvador Onate – $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic winner

On Big Red:
“I’m very happy. This is a big win for me as it is the last round before we go to the Pan American Games. I got [Big Red] about three years ago — Steve Guerdat was riding him. I’ve had many grand prix wins with him and we won a gold medal at the Central American Games. He puts all his effort into every jump, it doesn’t matter if it’s a meter or 1.50m. He puts in so much effort and tries so hard. He’s very special.”

Salvador Onate and Big Red
Salvador Onate and Big Red

On preparing for the Pan American Games:
“You can’t really rest leading up to the Pan Am Games. After Lima, we have to be prepared for the [Spruce Meadows] Masters, the [Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final] CSIO Barcelona – it is a very busy schedule. Florida can be really humid but it is lovely here in Kentucky.”

On the course:
“The course was good. It was very tricky. It’s great to prepare for the Pan Am Games here in Kentucky. I love Kentucky.”

Shane Sweetnam – Second place in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic

On Gerko:
“It’s actually Lacey [Gilberston]’s horse. He’s quite green and he’s only stepped up doing grand prixs at the last show two weeks ago at the show in Michigan [at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival] and he was fourth in the $50,000 grand prix there. This is his first night class and double-clear under the lights — he handled it well. I expected him to. He’s a really talented horse and he’s got a good brain. He’s really nice to ride. He still has little things with his balance to fix properly but for his age he’s quite comfortable. It doesn’t feel difficult in there. He adjusts very well.”

Shane Sweetnam and Gerko
Shane Sweetnam and Gerko

On showing at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show:
“It’s great to be back. I love to be in Kentucky. It’s our home base in the summer and we’ve always had good luck at these shows. I’ve been coming here for over 12 years now. We’ve always loved these shows and always try to pencil it in every year if we can.”

On what’s next for Gerko:
“I’ll do him again on Saturday in the grand prix and then Lacey will show him next week. We’ve been rotating him because he’s still learning and he’s a big boy — just to make sure he goes the right direction.”

Goguen, Payne and Farmer Tie for Grand Hunter Champion at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Lexington, Ky. – July 25, 2019 – The professional hunter divisions came to a close Thursday during the Kentucky Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. It was a day of blues as three horse and rider combination swept their classes, winning every over fences class in their respective divisions, garnering a three-way tie for Grand Hunter Championship, presented by Visse Wedell. In the Green 3’6” Hunter division, Gossi, owned by Garland Alban and ridden by Tim Goguen, won every class to earn the championship ribbon. In the Green 3’9” Hunter division, Chris Payne and Fibonacci, owned by Still Water Farm LLC, dominated their division for the championship. To round out the three-way tie, Kelley Farmer piloted David Glefke’s Witness to five straight wins and the championship. All three combinations earned a total of 50 points.

Fibonacci and Chris Payne. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography
Chris Payne and Fibonacci. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography

Gossi, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding ridden by Tim Goguen, turned in consistent rounds all week. On Wednesday, the judges gave him the top call in all three over fences classes. The duo also earned first place in the under saddle class and second in the model, as well as fourth place in the Green Hunter Incentive Stake. On Thursday, Gossi continued his winning ways, taking the top placing in the all three over fences once again.

Just back from the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, Goguen and Gossi were champion both weeks there before having a week off to return to Kentucky, where Goguen is based when not in Florida. Today marked Gossi’s first time being honored with the Grand Hunter Champion title, totaling 50 points.

Tim Goguen and Gossi. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography
Tim Goguen and Gossi. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography

Fibonacci and rider Chris Payne were no strangers to the winner’s circle this week either. Wednesday the pair won both over fences and the under saddle to put them in the lead for the championship. They repeated their performance Thursday with a clean sweep of the over fences classes, including the handy round to tally up to 50 points. The flashy KWPN chestnut gelding returned to the ring for the first time since the Devon Horse Show & Country Fair last May, but were still able to walk away with the win in every class.

Kelley Farmer also earned a perfect point total of 50 aboard Witness. Farmer and Witness were stars of both the Green 3’6” Hunter, the Green 3’6”/3’9” Hunter Incentive Stak eand the High Performance Working Hunters, receiving the champion ribbon in both divisions and the win in the Green Hunter Incentive Stake class. The crowd witnessed a grand slam of the High Performance Hunter over fences both days, including Thursday’s handy round and a win in Wednesday’s under saddle class.

Farmer raved about Witness and his rideability and consistency. The bay Holsteiner gelding was just recently gelded after coming to the United States and won his first hunter championship just 10 days later at the Tryon Summer 4 and has been champion everytime out since then.

Kelley Farmer and Witness
Kelley Farmer and Witness. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography

Hunter action continues in the Stonelea ring with the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division at 8:00 am.


Tim Goguen – Grand Hunter Champion with Gossi

On Gossi:
“Gossi went well both days. The last three or four weeks of showing he’s been very consistent. He was champion both weeks in Michigan at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. He came here and had a week off and was champion here, so I’m hoping he’s putting it together. He started putting it together in Florida, but then we gelded him, so he started back here in the spring. It’s his first Grand Hunter Champion, so it’s really exciting. He’s been pretty consistent, so hopefully he can keep that up and I’ll try to stay out of his way!”

On what’s next for Gossi:
“He’ll have a week off and then he’ll do the Green Hunter Incentive Finals here and then Indoors.”

On showing at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show:
“I personally love it here. My house and farm are just down the road. We always have 20-25 horses here. It’s a great facility to work out of so for us it’s like home other than Florida.”

Tim Goguen and Gossi
Tim Goguen and Gossi

Chris Payne – Grand Hunter Champion with Fibonacci

On Fibonacci:
“Yesterday, he was amazing. Today, he was just a nickel fresh. He was kind of aware in the handy and it got him a little going. I usually do him in the High Performance Conformation, but right now he’s leading the country so we thought we’d do some Green Hunters. He hasn’t shown since Devon, so he was a little rusty starting out, but he came to the party nicely.”

On what’s next for Fibonacci:
“Next up for him is the Green Hunter Incentive Finals next month and then Capital Challenge and Indoors.”

On showing at the Kentucky Horse Shows:
“I love showing at the Kentucky Horse Shows. I show here all the time. It’s the best facility, the management runs the show great. Every aspect of it is spot on.”

Chris Payne and Fibonacci
Chris Payne and Fibonacci

Kelley Farmer – Grand Hunter Champion with Witness

On Witness
“He jumped phenomenal today. He won the Green 3’6” Hunters and the High Performance Working Hunters. He’s amazing. This is the most beautifully schooled, beautifully broke, beautifully educated horse I’ve ever ridden and he does it in a rubber snaffle. I’ve ridden a lot of nice horses, I’ve ridden a lot of beautifully educated horses. I’ve been very fortunate to ride a lot of horses from some really good people, but this horse is as schooled and beautifully broke as any horse I’ve ever ridden. He’s really easy on himself, he’s quiet, he’s brave and he’s beautiful.”

On what’s next for Witness:
“They’ll both [Witness and Consent] do Green Hunter Incentive Finals and Derby Finals. I’m really excited for both of those events at the Kentucky Horse Shows for both those horses, it’s going to be great.”

Kelley Farmer and Witness
Kelley Farmer and Witness

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